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Healthy recipes and information

We've all overdone it at one time or another. When you need to redress the balance of your diet, make sure you don't surgically remove the flavour. It's all about healthy recipes that are balanced, varied and a pleasure to eat. Let BBC Food show you how.

Healthy recipes

Main course

Light meals & snacks

Brunch

Starters & nibbles

Side dishes

Desserts

Cakes and baking

Drinks and cocktails

Other

See all healthy recipes (538)

Challenges for a healthy diet

Don't be swayed by claims like 'fat-free' and 'only 50 calories'. Look for what they don't tell you and try to compare them with similar products to make sure they're not giving the misleading impression that they’re healthier than they really are.

Some 'healthy' ready meals are high in salt - sometimes higher than the standard version. Low-fat desserts can be full of sugar. Don't assume household brand-names or economy packs compare unfavourably with supposedly 'healthier' foods either. Often foods marketed at slimmers are not very nutritious.

Healthy ingredients and substitutions

The healthiest food you can buy - fresh fruit and vegetables - doesn't come with a label. Fresh ingredients won't list their nutrients, additives (or absence of) or boast that they're good for you (they don't need to).

Where possible, prepare foods yourself. You'll know exactly what you're eating and nothing with a 'healthy choice' label emblazoned on it is likely to be as virtuous - or as delicious.

Give your food an extra kick. If you're bored with your dinner, then you'll either eat too much of it, or eat too much of something else after it, so the best idea is to not get bored in the first place. That means:

• shop seasonally (food in season is at its height of flavour and nutritional value)

• use fresh herbs and herb oils for instant flavour

• add zing with chilli, garlic, relishes and mustards

• cook with wine instead of fats, reducing it down and using its wonderful flavour to add depth and complexity to stews

• use lemons to add a citrus tang, roasting them alongside chicken, grilling them with fish, and squeezing their juice over green vegetables and salads

• lighten up a simple fish or chicken dish by turning it into a soup: the broth fills you up yet is very light

Quick recipe finder

Type the ingredients you want to use, then click Go. For better results you can use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "chicken breast"). Alternatively you can search by chef, programme, cuisine, diet, or dish (e.g. Lasagne).

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